Debunking Myths: COVID-19 & African-Americans

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate against race; ALL people regardless of ethnicity are at risk; however, African-Americans are a higher risk due to various factors which include pre-existing health disparities of medical conditions that weaken the immune system and social, economic, and environmental factors that have negatively impacted the African-American community. Additionally, African-American are overrepresented in front-line jobs like the home health aide industry, and postal / delivery services (i.e. USPS, FedEx, Amazon, UPS) and frequently have jobs at companies deemed as essential services at grocery stores, food service, manufacturing plants, and big box retail stores like Wal-Mart which leads to higher rates of exposure.

MYTH #1: BLACK PEOPLE CAN'T GET CORONAVIRUS - FALSE

FACT: There are 131 predominantly black counties within the U.S — Predominantly black U.S. counties are experiencing a three-fold higher infection rate and a six-fold higher death rate than predominantly white counties. (Source: The Johns Hopkins University and American Community Survey as cited in the Journal of American Medical Association: COVID-19 and African Americans (4/15/2020)

FACT: Although African-Americans only make up approximately 30.9% of Maryland’s population, African-American’s have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19; with the highest number of people infected (16,028) out of any other racial group and 1,077 deaths of African-Americans. (*based on MD State Dept. of Health Coronavirus data – 06/05/2020)

MYTH #2: I’M YOUNG & HEALTHY, COVID-19 ONLY AFFECTS OLD PEOPLE - FALSE

FACT: Healthy children, teens, and young adults can get infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19). The risk from COVID-19 can be serious or fatal for anyone. There have been thousands of COVID-19 infection cases in young people across the U.S. and some of them have become seriously ill, along with some unfortunate deaths due to the virus.

FACT: While you may think you are invulnerable; you are NOT – this virus can attack anyone at any age. While the recovery rate for young people is relatively higher than older people, this does not mean that young people will not be infected. Here are the Maryland Statistics on COVID-19 cases by age as of June 05,2020 which shows that the majority of people who have tested positive are under the age of 50. This includes 2,604 cases of people between 10 – 19 years old and 7,938 cases for 20 – 29 years old.

MYTH #3: I FEEL FINE. I DON’T HAVE COVID-19 & CAN” T GIVE IT TO ANYONE

FACT: 4 out of 5 people who get infected with COVID-19, are infected by a person who has no symptoms of COVID-19 but is a carrier of the virus. As shared by Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., M.D, for every 1 person infected with the coronavirus, up to at least 4 (or possible more) may become infected by that one person, and the result could be lead to the rate of infection spread to double every 6 days,

FACT: Many young people are asymptomatic carriers – people who carry the active virus in their body but never develop any symptoms. While you may feel fine and go about your daily life, you could be giving the virus to friends, family members and strangers without knowing that you are infected with COVID-19. You would not want to give the virus to one of your parents or grandparents, would you? Also, one of your close friends may have a health condition that you do not know anything about – would you want to risk passing the virus to them? Your family members and friends with underlying health conditions are at greater risk, which would make it harder for their body to fight off the coronavirus. Even if you think you are invincible, it is important for you to know and understand that your loved ones and circle of friends are not. That is the reason, it is important for you and your peers to practice social-distancing and wear face masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. #StopTheSpread #FlattenTheCurve

MYTH #4: DRINKING LOTS OF WATER OR HOT DRINKS WILL PREVENT ME FROM GETTING COVID-19

FACT: There is no drink, hot or cold, that will protect you from COVID-19 or cure the illness. Currently, there is no proven cure or vaccine for COVID-19, but most people recover from the virus. *Drinking water in general is good to hydrate the body, but it will not prevent you from getting the coronavirus.

MYTH #5: DRINKING OR INFECTING DISINFECTANTS HELPS TO PREVENT OR CURE COVID-19

FACT: Drinking or infecting disinfectants is harmful to your health and you could DIE! The following is a direct statement from Reckitt Benckiser, the parent company that makes Lysol products:

“We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” the company wrote. “As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines.”

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency tweeted the following warning people NOT to ingest or inject disinfectants.

MYTH #6: COVID-19 CAN’T SURVIVE IN WARM TEMPERATURES SO IT WILL GO AWAY THIS SUMMER

FACT: COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates. As shared by the World Health Organization (WHO), from the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather.